PFAs

For Decades, The Department of Defense Knew Fire Fighting Foams With PFAS Chemicals Were Dangerous But Continued Their Use

As far back as 1970s, studies conducted by the Department of Defense showed that the firefighting foam used on military bases and ships known as Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) that contain fluorinated chemicals now known as PFAS were toxic. By the 1980s, animal studies conducted by the Air Force revealed that PFAS chemicals could pose environmental and health risks. Here is a timeline of internal DoD studies and reports detailing just how much they knew about the dangers of using AFFF.

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1963


Navy scientists seek patent for AFFF.

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1966


Navy granted patent for AFFF.

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1967


Fire on the USS Forrestal kills 34 sailors.

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1967


The Navy and Marine Corps require the use of AFFF.

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1973


Air Force report, citing toxic effects of AFFF, calls for carbon filtration.

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1974


Air Force report cites toxic effects of AFFF on fish, suggests treatment of AFFF waste.

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1976


Navy scientists cite toxic effects of AFFF.

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1978


Navy study cites toxic effects of AFFF.

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1983


Air Force technical report finds PFDA has toxic effects in mouse studies.

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1985


Navy report again cites toxic effects of AFFF.

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1989


Citing toxic effects, Air Force calls for better management of AFFF waste.

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1991


Army urges Fort Carson to stop using “hazardous” AFFF.

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2000


DOD alerted that PFOS is “bioaccumulative” and “toxic.”

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2001


DOD memo finds PFOS “persistent, bioaccumulating, and toxic.”

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2001


DOD and EPA hold meeting on military use of PFAS in AFFF.

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2011


DOD releases a Chemical and Material Emerging Risk Alert for AFFF, citing “human health and environmental risks.”

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2016


Assistant secretary of Defense directs branches of the military to prevent uncontrolled environmental releases of AFFF and to dispose properly of PFOS containing AFFF.

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